Ideally, once you find your dream home, you can quickly move through the purchasing process. However, there could be a hiccup in the plan if there are problems with the home. Before signing on the dotted line, here is what you need to know in regards to getting repairs completed before you buy a home.
Who Is Responsible for the Repairs?
Unless you have signed a contract up to this point that specifically states that you or the seller is responsible for the repairs, who is responsible is up for debate. In most instances, what happens with repairs is negotiable. As such, you could ask the seller to pay for some repairs, while he or she could ask that you handle others.
If you have signed a contract with the seller at this point, look for an inspection contingency. If you are working with an attorney, such as the Law Office of Richard D. Saba, P.A., chances are he or she made sure the contingency was included so that you could back out of the purchase of the home if the home failed inspection and the seller was unwilling to make repairs.
What Can You Do?
If the seller is willing to negotiate with you on the repairs, you have a few options available. One is to split the cost of the repairs 50-50. You and the seller would obtain an estimate for the repairs, choose a contractor, have the work done, and split the final bill.
You also have the option of getting an estimate for the work that needs to be completed and asking the seller to give you a credit for the repair amount. This would decrease the purchase price of the home for you and allow you to have the work done. Again, you can offer to split the repairs 50-50. If the repairs are $10,000, the seller could agree to a credit of $5,000.
Another option you have is to simply walk away from the home. If your attorney has taken the necessary precautions with the contract, you should receive your earnest money check back and not suffer any other consequences for the failed purchase of the home.
What If There Is No Contingency?
In the event that you failed to include a contingency with the contract, you could end up solely responsible for the repairs. You can still attempt negotiating with the seller, but he or she might not be under any legal obligation to do so. Check your state's laws to determine what legal protections you have.
Before signing any paperwork, you should always review the documents with your real estate attorney. He or she can help protect your interests and keep the process on track.